A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

And if you want these kind of dreams.. It’s Californication!

Posted by Pepper on August 11, 2015

I could feel the flutter of the butterflies in my tummy when I heard the announcement. It had been over 20 hours of flying time. How much I had longed to hear those words. And finally, here they were. I couldn’t contain my excitement. Time to fasten our seat belts. We would be landing in San Francisco shortly. How long had it been since I had left that place? And yet, it felt like I was revisiting an old home. I couldn’t wait to meet and reconnecting with my past.

Ofcourse, I was delighted to see Mint after 2 weeks. But in all honesty, I was more delighted by the thought of actually being in the Bay Area. We drove out of the airport and I couldn’t stop beaming at the sight of the very familiar free ways. When I think back, I realise I was soaking in the simple joy of being in that place through out my trip.

We reached our apartment that would be our home for the next few weeks. I gasped. The area we would be living in was a little too upscale for me to wrap my head around. Such a prime locality! Right in the heart of downtown SF. There is no way we would have been able to afford living in a place like this on our own. This place was paid for by Mint’s company. For a moment, I wished we could have been given the money instead of the very posh apartment that cost an obscene amount. How much would we have saved? Anyway, since there was no way we could make that possible, I decided to make full use of the opportunity of living there. Although we had lived in the Bay Area for several years, we had never lived in the heart of San Francisco. I would make sure I explore the city to the fullest.

The first few days of my trip went by in a haze. I was too jet lagged to do much. I decided to put off the catch up sessions with friends for the next couple of days. I wanted to focus on the food and just get some rest. My first stop was Chipotle. Oh, how much I had missed this. As expected, I over ate. This, after I had already had a very big breakfast of avocado toasts, frittatas with feta and sun-dried tomatoes served with jalapeno jelly and the most delicious blue berry pancake. I told myself to go easy. How much could my stomach handle? But it was hard to stop. There were too many places I wanted to eat in. And the never ending conflict we faced? Should we revisit our old favourite restaurants or should we explore and try new ones? We decided to fit in as much as possible. We over ate during every meal. Not surprisingly, I fell ill after a point and spent the next 2 days taking it easy.

Mint was at work every day until evening and I had chosen that time to go around the city by myself. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. I was swamped with work. We faced some last minute issues in a project I was working on. I would wake up to a flood of emails everyday. So I spent the first half of my days working. I would walk to Mint’s office in the afternoons and we would lunch at a good place. He would come home early in the evening and we would set out to meet friends, or shop for tidbits and to dine at yet another favourite place.

Friends. We realised we had too many friends to meet and not enough time. Other than that, we also had close family. I was ecstatic to meet some old friends and catch up with my cousins. But I wanted to do more in our trip than just meet people. Our other problem was that most of our friends lived in the South Bay while we were living in the city. Needless to say, we spent a large chuck of our time commuting and catching up with people.

Towards the end of my first week there, I started feeling jittery. I realised we had been taking no pictures. I also wanted to do the typical touristy things. Walk around Fisherman’s wharf. Pier 39. Tour the Golden Gate bridge. Visit Crooked street. And so on. Mint was very taken aback by my demands. Haven’t we seen all those places a hundred times already? He asked. It was true. We had. When we lived in the Bay Area, I was rather sick of those places. Every time friends or family visited us, we had to take them on an obligatory tour and visit the said places over and over again. We were bored of them. And now, I was wanting to do the touristy things myself. I’m not sure why.

I guess a part of me felt like an insider and the other part felt like a mere visitor. I was trapped between these two conflicting emotions. Although I did know the place like an insider, although I couldn’t call myself a tourist in a place I had lived in for years, I couldn’t deny being a mere visitor this time. I tried telling Mint we should take many pictures. Pictures of what? He would ask. “We only seem to be going to restaurants. What do you want to click? I am not interested in doing touristy things”. He said that he was however ‘willing’ to do them if that is what I really wanted. I decided to take up the offer, even if it wasn’t a very enthusiastic one.

And so the days rolled by. We ate some fabulous meals, met friends, hung out at our old addas, bought little things every other day, raided Trader Joes, visited some tourist spots, rekindled some old memories, created new ones and just immersed ourselves in a certain unspeakable joy. I had gotten used to that life, replete with good food and happy times. There were no responsibilities. We even had assigned help who took care of the cleaning and tidying up of our apartment. We just had a toss a dirty utensil in the sink and the dishes would be gleaming the next day. Fresh towels would find their way to our bathroom. The pillows would be fluffed and bed sheets would be straightened when we returned home. Like magic.I really could get used to living like that.

Before we realised it, it was time for me to leave. We had been shopping all day and I had an early morning flight the next day. I was utterly exhausted. Shopping tires me out and makes me irritable. I was longing to climb into bed and ready myself for the endless flight. But I knew I couldn’t leave the Bay Area until I had paid homage to a certain place. If I didn’t visit this place, I would have left with a feeling of incompleteness.

I am talking about our old home in the Bay Area, one we lived in for all those years. By the time we drove into our (former?) area, I was squealing. ‘Look, this is the route I took everyday to pick you up from the Bart station’, I told Mint. ‘Oh, look, this is where we did our grocery!’. It went on. Every little corner had a memory attached. By the time we got to our block and saw our apartment, I was delirious.

Even the very non sentimental Mint was looking at our apartment complex with dreamy eyes. I wanted to take a picture of the gate but Mint told we would be reported for suspicious criminal activity. I took a quick picture nevertheless. Too bad we didn’t have the code to enter the complex. We then stood outside our what was once our backyard. My beloved backyard. How many times I had stood in there, pondering about life. That is where I used to have my morning cup of coffee. That is where we were surprised by the springing of a mysterious rose plant. And here I was again, on the other side of the fence this time.

We drove back, still reeling under the effects of all our past memories in that house. I can safely say, visiting that apartment complex was one of the highlights of my trip. The other highlight was meeting a certain somebody. Anyway, I was at the airport early in the morning the next day. Mint would be staying back for a while more. We hugged and said bye to each other. ‘See you soon’, he whispered to me. And as I walked towards security check, I realised those were always my sentiments when I left California. I don’t know what ties bind me to that place. But I can never say good bye. For I know I will return. It is always, ‘See you soon’.

Pictures, for your viewing pleasure. They are in no particular order or sequence.

Avocado toasts. I just could not get enough of these. I ate them at every opportunity. Such simplicity, but what an explosion of flavor!



One night when we drove to twin peaks. As always, the wind was so ferocious here, I had to keep running back to the car to warm myself. I could feel the car swaying, quite literally. But the view was mesmerizing, so we tried to brave the wind and spend some time there. Mint would keep wrapping himself around me to shield me from the strong gusts of wind. Romantic setting and all that.


This was the *BEST* french toast we had eaten. Period. Oh God, I am drooling as I think of it.


Again, I was so delighted to get my hands on this African honey wine. It is called ‘Tej’. How I wish we got it in India. I can drink glasses of this with ease. It is probably the only kind of alcohol that I actually like. The rest of the stuff I enjoy only with good mixers.


On a sunny weekend, when we were strolling around the sea side. I saw this little girl playing on the rocks, engrossed in her own happy world. Just seeing her made me feel so happy. Anyway, how can you not be happy in such gorgeous surroundings? Doesn’t the sea look like a bed of molten sapphire?


On a cold, grey and foggy evening when we walked around Pier 39. That island you see is Alcatraz, which houses the famous prison. I am not sure I have written about my experience while touring this prison some years ago. Quite an interesting place. The cells and the description of the lives of the inmates sent chills down my spin.


This picture has a story. When we lived in the Bay Area, we would visit Target fairly regularly. We loved their shopping carts for how sturdy they were. I would stand on the edge of the cart and every time Mint spotted an empty aisle, he would push the cart while I stood on it and give me a fun, fast paced ride. It used to give me such a thrill and it always made me feel like a little child. Surprisingly, the staff never had a problem and would always give us a friendly and appreciative smile as they passed. This time when we visited Target, we realised I had to step on to the cart, for old times sake. Mint gave me the usual ride on the speeding cart and then he stepped aside to take this picture.


When we were just rolling on the lawns on a weekend. Such happy and carefree times.


In front of the far-famed Golden Gate bridge. We visited only because I insisted (for reasons unknown even to me). This must have been my nth visit to this place. I think there are so many better structures around, especially in the US. Why is this bridge so famous? Totally over-hyped, in my humble opinion.


I started getting cranky about not taking enough pics one day. In response, Mint pulled out his cell phone and took this random picture of me walking on the streets. That got me more annoyed. When I said I wanted pictures, I didn’t want pictures only of myself, walking on the road. And I didn’t want cell phone pictures. It was such a grey day anyway. We looked so dark. When I said I wanted pictures, I meant I wanted pictures of ‘us’. Good pictures, taken with our camera. Anyway, this picture is a little special to me. Because it commenced the beginning of taking more pictures. Had I not protested that day, I suppose we would not have had a single picture taken in this trip.


And so, that was a glimpse of our trip. It’s been a few weeks since I am back, and I already find myself dreaming of more travel. Sigh.. Anyway, long time since I stopped by here. How have you been, folks?


50 Responses to “And if you want these kind of dreams.. It’s Californication!”

  1. Glad you enjoyed it… It’s a wonderful place very liberating..

  2. Lovely pics yaa! Can totally sense your feelings when you saw your old watering holes. Nostalgia is such a strange happy/sad feeling.
    I totally do that on Target carts too! Now if I am shopping alone, I just push myself with one foot. Of course people must think I am delirious.

    • Pepper said

      Haha.. Mint pushes himself with one leg too. I think we are all thrill seekers, living a farce because of the ridiculous demands and expectations of adulthood.

  3. Those photo captures combined with your comments were a joy to watch 🙂
    Thanks again for taking the train to meet us..!

    BTW, last weekend, was dancing at the MV music festival with the kids and husband..sorely missed you two.
    Remember years ago? 🙂

    • Pepper said

      Oh taking the train was no biggie. We were totally prepared for it. No way expected you to travel so much to come to our side with TWO young kids, one an infant that too! And all of that on a weekday..

      Ofcourse, I remember! Sigh.. what days those were.. 🙂

  4. Jo said

    I was thinking why no updates from CA.. Missed you.. Hope you had a nice time

  5. Comfy said

    And now that you are back we are planning a trip there. Hope to see all the touristy places and eat some awesome food but there are so many friends to meet that logistics are going to be a nightmare. But onwards as they say. Glad you had a great time! Loved the pictures 🙂

  6. Reblogged this on oshriradhekrishnabole.

  7. Wow that was one nostalgic but nevertheless great trip 🙂

  8. srividhya said

    Glad you had a great time. I agree with your reg SFO. We live so close by but yet living in city is altogether different naa.

  9. Totally get the sentiments attached to a place. We felt that way recently when we stopped by our old home in ATX. So glad you made this trip. Pics are super cute. The avocado toast had me drooling. What is this African honey wine? I am off to Google.

  10. You had me at jalapeno jelly 🙂

    You seem to have had a lot of fun.
    Also, I LOVE your clothes :O So pretty and well-put-together your wardrobe (whatever I have seen of it) is 🙂

    • Pepper said

      Jalapeno jelly. I WANT it now. What do I do?! 😦

      Ohh thanks! You are the second or the third person to tell me nice things about my wardrobe on the blog. I am flattered. I’ll tell you a secret though. I pick out the extra nice clothes for my travel. Probably why it makes it seem that my wardrobe is well put together..

  11. I was waiting for your post 🙂 to hear about all the fun you had in SF. You had a great time I can see 🙂

    Loved that picture of the two of you rolling on the grass.

  12. Holidays are always so refreshing and liberating….its glad to know that you relived some of your old memories and made some new ones 🙂

  13. This post makes me happy! I am sorry we could not meet up (I think you had pinged on gmail too, na?) I saw the ping much later 😦
    As I prepare to move back to india (in 3 weeks!) I can totally see myself being happy at all the things you mentioned. Even though we still stay in bay area, we at times go and visit our old bay area homes we stayed at for old times sakes 😀

    • Pepper said

      Hello! No, no… don’t be sorry for not being able to meet up. I wasn’t able to find time to meet either 😦 I pinged you on gmail a day before I was to leave, because I was feeling bad that I didn’t even talk to you once. I thought we could talk, since there had been no time to meet.

      But you are moving to India? Whoa.. Big changes await you! Let me know if you need any help, since I have been there and done that..

  14. Nutty said

    that sounds like a perfect trip- what’s one without a good amount of nostalgia, anyway 🙂
    waaah wish you could have come to the other side of the coast as well *sulk*

  15. Bhavani said

    Wow wonderful narration of your trip Pepper….downtown SF and all..very hep ya 🙂 beautiful pics….glad you came during the best weather in SF

    It always happens right….we take the place we live totally for granted….


  16. Deepa said

    The avocado toast is soo drool worthy! I add an egg white on top and sprinkle ground black pepper, a dash of lime and red pepper flakes, tastes yum! glad you had fun.

  17. swarama said

    Hi Pepper, glad you had a great time in SF! I used to stay in South Bay, but recently moved to East Coast, but I really miss San Jose/SFO. Nice pictures! 🙂

  18. lovely post and PICS Pepper 😉 it a;ways feels nice to visit old places where u had spent considerable time, created memories and what not!

  19. Suma said

    Hi Pepper, Glad you had a great time in SF! I used to stay in South Bay, now moved to different state. Lovely pictures!!

  20. Lovely narration and beautiful pictures Pepper. I recently met a man in his 60’s who said, my mind thinks it still is eighteen and my body doesn’t support. There is child in everyone and you live it on every opportunity. Why should we behave like adults all the time 🙂

  21. Boiling said

    Glad you had an awesome trip 🙂

    I am the same. Everytime I am back in Hyd, I almost always visit our old rented house which has been demolished and they have already built a new building but I make it a point to drive by that street at least once ha ha

  22. Wow, uve had an amazing time!!

    How glad am i that there are fellow adults who love to ride shopping carts! I dont feel like a nut anymore.

    I soo get the nostalgia that this post is dripping of. Must have been so hard na to see ur old house and realize there are other people that call it theirs now…

    I bet it was Dobby who cleaned up ur room everyday, hehe.

    • Pepper said

      You are telling me most adults do not like the ride the shopping cart? Really? It seems like the most normal thing to get hooked on to 😛

      I know! I really had to stop myself from ringing our old house ka door bell and ask the occupants what they were doing there 😐

      Dobby? Maybe you are right. Now if only he showed up in my room here too.

  23. Dee said

    Missed your posts! Glad to see you back in full swing! 🙂

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